The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling Wednesday that federal benefits must be given to all legally married same-sex couples inspired Maryland's political leaders to offer thoughts on social progress.
Curious what they think? Here are excerpts from comments released by Maryland's public office holders after the court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Gov. Martin O'Malley, Democrat:
"This ruling is a powerful step forward for those who live in states like Maryland. But the Court's decisions make clear that there is still more work to do as a nation to achieve greater respect for the equal rights and human dignity of all.
"As Marylanders, and as Americans, we ultimately all want the same thing for our children: to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected equally under the law."
"Today's Supreme Court rulings are truly historic. Our nation's march towards greater equality under the law has been frustratingly slow at times, but it has also been inexorable. Today we took another step in the journey that began in Philadelphia in 1776 and was fought for in places like Seneca Falls and Selma. Getting married was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I'm heartened to see that right extended to more Americans."
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Democrat:
" ... the Supreme Court has moved our nation one step closer to fulfilling the Constitution's promise of equal protection of the law. ...
For too long, same-sex married couples have been given second-class status by state laws and federal laws like DOMA, denying them the full equal protection of the laws that our Constitution promises."